Guatemala woman preparing yarn for textilesGuatemala! The natural splendor of Lake Atitlan, considered one of the most scenic lakes in the world, combined with the majestic volcanoes of the highlands, will create memories for a lifetime. The beauty of the countryside is equaled by the rich culture and heritage of the Maya people of these highlands who comprise over 90% of the population. Their influence is seen everywhere in the dress, religion, arts, markets, and music in the Guatemalan highlands.

This travel field seminar, organized and led by Penny Diamanti and Vivian Harvey, will focus on the artisans who produce the exquisitely-complex and colorful textiles and beaded art seen in many small Maya villages in the highlands. Our primary focus will be the many small Tz’utujil and Kaqchiquel-speaking villages around magnificent Lake Atitlan. Each is known for distinctive village-identity dress and weaving and other handcrafts.  As we travel to each village, we’ll observe and discuss many aspects of Guatemalan history, culture, textiles, and art. 

A highlight of the trip will be a day at the most famous market of Latin America in Chichicastenango, where we’ll mingle with local Maya families from all over the highlands who have come to sell their crafts and textiles.

This will be a memorable and activity-filled program, with a strong focus on the arts, culture, and social reality of the Maya people of Guatemala. 

• A few comments from our February 2022 travelers:
From an international health professional: “We are all sitting here at the Jungle Lodge, talking about what a wonderful trip we had…”

From a college professor: “The program you set up was amazing - great speakers, fantastic artists, and fun shopping experiences.”

From an attorney on her second trip with us: “2020 trip was fantastic!! Then, somehow, you and Penny managed to improve just about everything for the 2022 trip. I can’t imagine how fabulous the 2023 trip will be!”

We will set the stage for our travels in Guatemala with one night in Guatemala City to visit two exceptional museums where we’ll explore the wonderful diversity and history of the textiles from the villages we’ll visit in the Ixchel Museum and to gain an understanding of the rich pre-Hispanic culture of the Maya in the Museo Popul Vuh.  

We’ll then spend two nights in the charming and historic small city Antigua to acquaint ourselves with the fascinating and tumultuous colonial history of Guatemala.  

We’ll travel to Panajachel, on the eastern shore of Lake Atitlan, where we’ll spend five nights and days visiting (by bus and private boat) many of the small colorful villages that dot the lake’s shore. We’ll learn more about contemporary Maya culture and art as we visit and talk with painters, potters, weavers, dyers, clothing designers, seed beaders, and other artists in the villages.

A final night in Guatemala City will enable us to be close to the airport for a Sunday morning departure for home. 

Itinerary (B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner)

Day 1 | Friday, February 17 (D)colorful loom

Day 2 | Saturday, February 18 (B, L, D)

Day 3 | Sunday, February 19 (B, L)

Day 4 | Monday, February 20 (B, L, D)woman and child with hand woven textiles

Day 5 | Tuesday, February 21 (B, L, D)

Day 6 | Wednesday, February 22 (B, L, D)

Day 7 | Thursday, February 23 (B, L)

Day 8 | Friday, February 24 (B, L, D)textiles & craft guatemala

Day 9 | Saturday, February 25 (B, L, D)

Day 10 | Sunday, February 26 (B, time permitting)

• Note: We will try to follow this schedule as closely as possible, but depending on new opportunities and with some consideration of weather, we may have to make last minute changes.

Travel Seminar LeaderVivian Harvey and her friend in Guatemalas

Vivian Harvey
Vivi lived and worked in Mexico for almost 30 years and has traveled extensively throughout Central and South America with university students and faculty members.  She now spends winters in Panajachel, Guatemala.  Prior to moving to Mexico, she was the Assistant Dean in the College of Human Ecology at The Ohio State University for ten years. She is the Educational Programs Coordinator at the Cemanahuac Educational Community, where she works with college faculty members across the United States and Canada to establish cooperative academic programs with Cemanahuac for graduate and undergraduate credit.  Her educational background includes a degree from the University of Michigan, and two graduate degrees from The Ohio State University.  A highlight of her time in Guatemala was a two-week period in 1994 when she served as a “bodyguard” for Rigoberta Menchu, the 1992 Nobel Peace Prize recipient.

Penny Diamanti guatemala craft tourPenny Diamanti
Penny grew up living in Europe and Africa where her father was posted as a diplomat. After earning her BA from UC Berkeley and MA in Journalism from University of Colorado, she continued to travel, collecting and researching beads in India, Thailand, Indonesia, Peru, Bolivia, and Guatemala. She worked as a researcher and writer at National Geographic Society before starting her own bead, jewelry, and importing handcrafts from Peru business. This eventually led to three Beadazzled stores in the Washington/Baltimore area. Semi-retired since 2012, she imports beadwork and textile arts from Guatemala, selling them to museum stores. This blends her love for travel to warm places and her desire to support the artistic and entrepreneurial spirit of Guatemalan women, while bringing the products of the vibrant Mayan culture to a wider audience. When in Takoma Park, she continues to make and sell her own jewelry and teach her unique Color and Design classes for beaders and weavers and her Business Workshop series for creative entrepreneurs. During the Covid lockdown she started an online beads store.

Kathleen McCabe guatemala craft tourKathleen McCabe
Kathleen has been creating with cloth since she was a child. Her unique fiber work has been described as painting with fabric, drawing with thread, and creating with cloth; her techniques include applique, fabric collage, and mixed media. After completing her art degree in applied design with an emphasis in textiles  from San Diego State University, she served on the Board of Directors for Quilt Visions, is a regional representative for Studio Art Quilt Associates, and the founding member of Paradise Textile Artists in San Diego.  Kathleen’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, and is published in numerous books and magazines. Her work can be found in public and private collections including the Thomas Contemporary Quilt Collection and the Thomas Sammon Art Collection. Kathleen has visited Guatemala several times and, like all of us, has fallen in love with the textiles; her enthusiasm for Guatemala is clearly reflected in her work.

FeesLake Atitlan Guatemala

TRAVEL FEE: $1995 U.S. funds (double room) based on a minimum of ten travelers. Enrollment will be limited to 16 travelers, and the trip will be confirmed when we receive 10 registrations.

- Single supplement: $225

Deposit & deadline

• $500 Deposit due with registration to hold your space
Please reserve your space on this trip as early as possible, so all participants have as much opportunity as possible to confirm flights, and we have time to confirm rooms for our travelers.

Register early to guarantee your space on this popular small group travel tour!

• December 15, 2022:
Balance of payments due
The remainder of the fee $1495 per person for double occupancy
The remainder of the fee $1720 per person for double occupancy

Cemetery Guatemala

Refunds: If tour operators have to cancel the travel program for any reason, full refunds will be given.

Cancellation fees:
• Two months before the start of trip, December 17, 2022
50% refund

• December 17, 2022-January 16, 2023
25% refund

• After January 17, 2023
No refunds

For more information & a registration form, please contact Vivian (email is best):

Tour fee includes:
• Hotels, double occupancy, 9 nights (single supplements available for $225.00)
• Shuttle transfer on arrival and departure days provided by Hotel Barcelo
• Transportation within Guatemala, including boats for Lake Atitlan excursions and vans/busses to markets and villages
• Entrance fees for museums
• Meals, with hot coffee or tea, as follows:
All breakfasts & lunches (may not include breakfast on Sunday morning, February 27, if your flight is very early), 7 dinners
• All tips, including baggage transfer at hotels, hotel housekeeping, bus drivers, and group meals at restaurants. No additional tips for guides are expected
• Speakers’ fees and/or donations 
• Information about Guatemala and the places to be visited, sent by email to participants prior to the trip
• Bibliography of suggested readings about Guatemala sent by email to participants before the trip
• Return to airport by Hotel Barcelo shuttle on departure day, February 27, 2023

This travel fee does NOT include:
• Flights to Guatemala City: extra nights in hotels, drinks other than coffee or hot tea with meals, meals not specified in the itinerary, and personal expenses (laundry, etc.)

Woman with daughterFlight plans and arrangements

Participants should arrange to fly into Guatemala City on Friday, February 17, 2023, and out of Guatemala City on Sunday, February 26, 2023. The first planned event of the program will be dinner at the Barcelo Hotel on Friday night, February 17, 2023. The Hotel Barcelo has an airport shuttle for the 10-minute trip. The hotel will have the arrival times and flight numbers of all our group members.

Participants will make their own flight arrangements
Please do not book non-refundable flights before the trip is confirmed, which we will do as soon as we receive 10 registrations, or by December 1, 2022 at the latest.

Travel insurance
Travel insurance is not required but it is strongly suggested, given the events of the past few years.

No special visas are required, but a valid passport is necessary. Please check to be sure your passport expiration date is at least six months later than February 27, 2023 when you make your reservation.

Altitude and general information on level of difficulty
Most of our visit will be spent in towns around the lake, which is 5,200 feet in altitude, and some of our travels will take us to villages up to 7,000 feet. We have not had any problem at this altitude, but travelers should be aware of this.

This is not an overly strenuous program, but travelers need to be healthy and active enough to be able to climb in and out of boats on Lake Atitlan and be able to walk four to five blocks on cobblestone streets or up hills in villages along the lake.

If you want to visit Tikal
Chicken bus in GuatemalaSome travelers may want to add several nights for a trip to the magnificent archeological site of Tikal, and information on this will be available for those requesting it. This can be arranged by a reputable Guatemalan travel agency and will include round-trip flights to Flores (Tikal airport). It will not be an escorted trip. 

Would you like to come early? Stay longer? Learn more? Want to study Spanish? Would you like to learn more about backstop weaving? Cooking? Painting?
Guatemala is a wonderful country to visit in the winter months, with far more to see and learn than we can present in 9 days. If you would like to extend your stay by coming early and/or departing later than the tour dates, we will be happy to help arrange hotels reservations and other details, but winter is a busy time around Lake Atitlan and Antigua so the sooner reservations are made, the easier it will be to make suitable reservations.

Need more information?

• Contact Vivian for more information about fees, reservations, or transportation.

• Contact Penny for information about specific types of crafts.

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Guatemala craft tour 2023